TAMIL NADU

750 lorries off the road

ERODE, AUG. 21 . As 750 lorries plying from here to North were off the roads today in response to the strike called by the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), huge quantities of goods lay piled up with traders.

But, goods within the State were despatched as the 3,000-odd lorries here were on the roads.

Goods from Sathyamangalam and Erode were transported to Andhra Pradesh and parts of Karnataka.

Some textile merchants booked their goods through the railways to northern States.

The railway authorities said that only limited quantities of goods could be despatched daily through the Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai-bound goods trains.

Over 20 tonnes of textile and other goods booked in railways were in godowns, because only six tonnes of goods were transported in wagons every day.

The authorities were making arrangements to despatch at least 10 tonnes of goods.

Our Namakkal Staff Reporter writes

The nationwide lorry strike received a lukewarm response from fleet operators in Namakkal district, the hub of lorry transport activity in the State.

Though the strike was to begin today, a large number of lorries plied transporting goods and no untoward incident was reported in any part of the district.

The AIMTC had given the call for the strike against the imposition of service tax on transport booking agents which was yet to come into force.

`Business as usual'

Speaking to The Hindu , the president, State Lorry Owners' Federation, P. Sengodan, said it was business as usual on the lorry traffic front and his federation had all along opposed the strike call as "unwarranted" and that the service tax proposal would not affect the lorry owners in any way.

On the transport front, some operators preferred a wait-and-watch approach towards booking North-bound consignments as they wanted to ensure that nothing got precipitated en route as a section of the Karnataka Lorry transport operators had pledged their support to the strike call.

Nevertheless, the general secretary of the Southern Region LPG Lorry Owners' Association, K. Sundararajan, claimed that long distance operators have responded positively to the strike call.

He, though, conceded that inter-state lorry movements remained largely unaffected.